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Full text of "Circuits"

Extreme LED Throwies 



Make] Projects 

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build, hack, tweak, share, discover,- 



Extreme LED Throwies 



Written By: Keith Hammond 



TOOLS: 



PARTS: 



Drill and 3/8" bit (1) 

for Indestructible LED Lantern. A drill 

press is best, but a handheld drill will 

work. 

Drill vised) 

Hot glue gun (1) 
from RadioShack 

Pliers (1) 

from RadioShack. 

Wire cutters (1) 
from RadioShack. 



LED. 10mm (1) 
from RadioShack. 

Coin cell batteries (1) 
from RadioShack. 

Disc magnet (1) 

1 per throwie. Get 25 for about $13 at 

amazingmagnets.com 

PVC pipe fitting. cap(1) 

for Indestructible LED Lantern 

PVC pipe fitting, plug (1) 

for Indestructible LED Lantern 

Electrical Tape (1) 
from RadioShack. 

Thread sealing tape (1) 

Binder clip (1) 

Toy fish (1) 

1 per LED Swimmie. We found a nice 

goldfish at accoutrements.com. 

Helium balloon. 12" (1) 
1 per LED Floatie 



© Make Projects 



www.makeprojects.com 



Page 1 of 7 



Extreme LED Throwies 



SUMMARY 

LED throwies are cheery glow-dots you can make in seconds from simple components and 
stick to any ferro-magnetic surface. But that's just the beginning — here's how to hack and 
modify them. 

First make a basic LED throwie, and chain them up into big throwie "bugs." Then learn to 
hack the throwie with an On-Off tab so you can switch it on whenever you want. 

For extreme weatherproof outdoor lighting, slip a throwie inside an Indestructible LED 
Lantern — it floats, survives rain and ice, and looks really cool in multiples, for lighting 
paths, patios, or anything you can think of. 

Finally, decorate your undersea grotto with LED Jellies -- eerie glowing jellyfish. And read on 
for even more fun hacks using LED throwies, from the MAKE blog. 



Step 1 — Build an LED throwie. 




• Pinch the LED's leads to the sides of the battery, with the longer lead (the anode) touching 
the battery's positive (+) terminal, and the shorter lead (cathode) touching negative (-). It 
should light up. 

• Cut a 7" length of strapping tape or electrical tape, and wrap the leads tightly to the battery 
so the LED does not flicker. Wrap once around both sides of the battery. 

• Place the magnet on the positive side of the battery and continue wrapping tightly. 

• The battery's positive contact surface extends around the edges of the battery, so 
don't let the short lead (cathode) touch it or you'll short the circuit. 

• That's it! You're ready to throw it and watch it stick to any ferro-magnetic surface. Throw it 
up high and in quantity to impress your friends! 

© Make Projects www.makeprojects.com Page 2 of 7 







Extreme LED Throwies 



Step 2 — Build giant throwie bugs. 





• Throwies naturally chain together in your pocket, making multi-segmented throwie bugs, 
which will also stick to metal surfaces if they aren't too long. 



Step 3 — Hack your throwie with an On-Off tab. 




• Before you tape the LED to the battery, sandwich the longer lead between 2 tabs of 
cardstock. 

• When you wrap the tape, one tab will stick to the tape; the other tab will be free to slide in 
and out, on the positive (+) side of the battery, making and breaking contact. So you can 
switch your throwie on and off whenever you want. Nice hack! 



© Make Projects 



www.makeprojects.com 



Page 3 of 7 



Extreme LED Throwies 



Step 4 — Build an Indestructible LED Lantern. 




• Drill a 3/8" hole in the top of the PVC cap; it will make a watertight fit for a 10mm LED. Use 
a drill vise to prevent kickback. 

• Cut 1/2" off each LED lead, then use pliers to bend a small dogleg in the longer, anode (+) 
lead. This helps keep the cathode (-) lead from shorting out the edge of the battery. 

• Wrap the base of the LED with thread sealing tape. 

• Place the LED in the pliers so their blunt nose is flush against the LED's bottom. Push the 
LED firmly through the cap from the inside until it's flush against the inside of the cap. If 
it's too tight, use the open end of the plug as a backstop and gently tap the plier handles 
with a rubber mallet or block of wood. 



© Make Projects 



www.makeprojects.com 



Page 4 of 7 



Extreme LED Throwies 



Step 5 — Power up your Indestructible LED Lantern. 




• Insulate the inside of the binder clip with a bit of electrical tape, to avoid shorting out your 
LED. The pliers will help hold it open. 

• Slice the CR2032 coin cell battery between the LED's leads, with the battery's positive (+) 
side against the longer (+) lead. The LED should light up. Clip the binder clip over the 
leads to hold them securely to the battery. 

• Wrap the top edge of the PVC plug once with sealing tape, then squeeze the plug into the 
cap. That's it! 

Step 6 — Deploy Indestructible LED Lanterns anywhere. 




• These simple, rugged, floating LED lanterns will glow for days. They've survived being 
submerged for a week, frozen, and laundered in the washing machine. 

• Use them to light up a yard party, or to mark the trail for night hiking. Maker Steve Hoefer, 
who invented this lantern, has floated them downstream, frozen them in ice, even used 
them as ammo in a pneumatic cannon. Use your imagination! 



© Make Projects 



www.makeprojects.com 



Page 5 of 7 



Extreme LED Throwies 



Step 7 — Turn throwies into LED Jellies. 






• To turn your throwies into an eerie glowing jellyfish, try making Angela Sheehan's cool- 
looking LED Jellies. Full instructions are in Make: Projects here . 



Step 8 — More great LED throwie ideas. 




• Since MAKE first published the LED Throwies how-to by Graffiti Research Lab in 2006, 
we've seen dozens of cool hacks and mods. Here are a few favorites from the MAKE blog: 

• Programmable LED Throwies (Throwie Talkies) — Stick an Atmel ATtiny microcontroller 
on your throwie and the LED will flash messages in Morse code! Hack by Ward 
Cunningham. 

• LED Floaties — Put throwies (minus the magnets) inside 12" helium balloons and light up 
the room or the sky. 

• LED Swimmies — Slip throwies inside plastic fish toys and light up a pond or pool party. 

• Motion-sensing LED Throwies — Use a scrap of guitar string to make an intermittent 
switch so the throwie will flicker when it's jiggled. 

• Amplified LED throwie wall — Susan Clausen of AS220 made this amazing sheet metal 
target for LED throwies, then put audio pickups on the back and ran it through an effects 
pedal and into an amplifier. It made for some extremely satisfying tosses. 



© Make Projects 



www.makeprojects.com 



Page 6 of 7 



Extreme LED Throwies 

A throwie will shine for 1-2 weeks, depending on the weather and the LED color. To get one off a 
ferro-magnetic surface, don't pull it, or it might come apart. Instead, slide the magnet sideways 
while lifting it with a fingernail or tool. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -02 07:29:03 AM. 



© Make Projects www.makeprojects.com Page 7 of 7